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Private Higher Education

The current model of civic engagement in higher education is increasing political apathy, politicizing learning, and reinforcing polarization. COVID-19 and the election cycle are compounding the problem because young people are increasingly disconnected. BridgeUSA is improving civic engagement by disrupting the partisan nature of campus politics and revitalizing dialogue and discourse, which form the bedrock of a liberal arts education. Specifically, BridgeUSA is building a research-based and student-led model for civic engagement that advances three principles in higher education: viewpoint diversity, constructive engagement, and solution oriented politics. The BridgeUSA model consists of two interventions: Chapters and Institute. The project focus for this grant is chapters. Bridge chapters are communities where students from across the ideological spectrum can challenge their echo chambers, practice empathy, and become informed citizens. The vision is to have a Bridge chapter on every campus because the future of democracy will be shaped by the next generation of citizens. The proposed project will double our chapter count, empower and connect student leaders nationwide, and position our student movement to be a credible alternative to the existing civic engagement apparatus.